The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) became available this afternoon on the Next Generation Science website, www.nextgenscience.org. Public comment is being sought on the standards, which are designed to clearly define and integrate the content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.
Kansas has been working in conjunction with 25 other states since last September to develop the rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards. The NGSS are built upon a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011.
“We’re pleased to have another opportunity for a broader audience to view the work being done on the Next Generation Science Standards,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “We became involved in this work as a state because we welcomed the opportunity to have our voice heard as work progressed on the standards. The public review periods ensure all voices are heard with regard to the standards development.”
The first public draft of the standards was made available in May 2012 and the draft released today reflects considerable changes based on feedback from Kansas and other states on that initial draft. Approximately 95 percent of the performance expectations in the standards draft have been modified since the first public draft last May, primarily to reflect more specific and consistent language in the standards. This draft also includes guidelines for how NGSS aligns to college and career readiness goals.
In addition to the two public drafts, the Kansas NGSS review team, along with similar teams in the other lead states, has provided feedback on three additional drafts. Following each draft, states have provided comments and suggestions to the writing committee and representatives from each state team have met with the writers to guide revisions. In Kansas, a committee consisting of representatives from K-12 and post-secondary education, business, science-related industries and policy makers has been conducting the state-level reviews. There have been significant changes between drafts that align with their feedback.
“A lot has been accomplished through the state level review committees and the first round of public comments, however we’re at a stage in the writing process now where we need additional input from a broader perspective,” said Matt Krehbiel, education program consultant for science at the Kansas State Department of Education. “I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in science education to take the time to review this final public draft of the standards.”
Because the standards are being written in alignment with the Framework for K-12 Science Education, individuals who wish to provide comments on the public draft are encouraged to review the Framework document, or the Framework report brief on the KSDE science website (http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=5391). More information about the standards writing process can also be found on the website.
While this is the final public draft of the standards, state review teams will see at least one more draft of the standards before they are finalized in March 2013. As a lead state in the standards development effort, Kansas has agreed to give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards as written once they are finalized; however, the state is under no obligation to adopt the final version. That decision will be made by the Kansas State Board of Education.